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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Τα Κλεμμένα
(Ta Klemena)

(The Stolen)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Ta Klemena" (Τα Κλεμμένα), which was sung by Notis Sfakianakis. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

About this Song

Most political songs since the 1980's, including this one, refer to the often ruthless way the European Union has treated the Greek nation. Of course, political songs from other eras confront other issues.

A belly dancer could include this song at the beginning of the playlist for her set, to be used as a prelude before actually making an entrance. Or, it could be added to the end of the playlist, to be played following the dancer's finale and exit from the stage, for audience members to get up and dance zeibekiko.

For more information about using Greek political and patriotic songs as part of a belly dance performance, see my article Greek Patriotic Celebrations: Recommendations for Belly Dancers elsewhere on this web site.

About Notis Sfakianakis

Notis Sfakianakis is the stage name for Panayiotis Notis Sfakianakis. He is a renowned and controversial Greek laiko singer who rose to fame in the 1990s. His music was among the first CD's I ever owned. He has made numerous hits over the years, and today remains active in the scene. Sfakianakis was born on the island of Crete, which is where his father is from. His mother's family comes from Asia Minor.

Sfakianakis was born in 1959. He began his musical career in 1985, opening for other artists in live concerts, and released his debut album in 1991. His signature song, "O Aetos", catapulted him to stardom in 1994.

Despite his being an amazing artist, Sfakianakis has come under fire for apparently supporting Right Wing ideologies such the Greek Neo Nazi organization Golden Dawn (Hrisi Avgi, written in Greek as Χρυσή Αυγή). I recall he made headlines in 2013 when singer Despina Vandi withdrew her plans to participate in a concert in which they were supposed to be the two headlining singers. Her reason was that Notis once again expressed his support and admiration for Golden Dawn. Despite his controversial views, many Greeks love his music. Some support his political views, but not all.

Song: Ta Klemena (The Stolen), 2007

Lyrics: Diana Tzovolou

Music: Yermenis Hristoforos

Original Artist: Notis Sfakianakis

Dance Style: Zeibekikos

Album: Mnimes (Memories)

Τραγούδι: Τα Κλεμμένα, 2007

Στίχοι: Ντιάνα Τζοβόλου

Μουσική: Γερμενής Χριστόφορος

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Νότης Σφακιανάκης

Χορός: Ζεϊμπέκικος

Άλμπουμ: Μνήμες

 

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Lyrics

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μία Tσιγγάνα μου 'χε πει mia Tsigana mou 'he pi A Tsigana (1) once told me
πως είναι απ' το Αϊβαλί pos ine ap' to Aivali that she is from Aivali, (2)
κaι εγώ θυμήθηκα ke ego thimithika and I remembered
τα λόγια του παππού μου ta logia tou papou mou the words of my grandfather.
στη' Σμύρνη έφτιαχνε γλυκά sti' Smirni eftiahne glika He was making sweets in Smyrna,
και η γιαγιά μπαχαρικά ke ee yiayia baharika and my grandmother spices
μέσα στο σπίτι mesa sto spiti inside the house
του πατέρα του δικού μου tou patera tou dikou mou of my fathers.
     
Τα χρόνια που 'μουν πιο μικρός ta hronia pou 'moun pio micros [In] the years that I was younger,
αναρωτιόμουν συνεχώς anarotiomoun sinehos I wondered constantly
γιατί 'χε πάντα yiati 'he panda why [he] always had
το μπαούλο γυαλισμένο to baoulo yializmeno the chest polished.
και πριν πεθάνει ke prin pethani And before he passed,
μου 'χε πει να του φυλάξω το κλειδί mou 'he pee na tou filaxo to klidi he told me to save the key for him,
και είδα το βλέμμα το στερνό του φοβισμένο ke ida to vlema to sterno tou fovismeno and I saw the fear in his stern gaze. (3)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Στην Πόλη, στην Αγιά Σοφιά stin Poli stin Ayia Sofia At the Poli, (4) at Ayia Sofia (5)
δακρύζει πάντα η Παναγιά dakrizi panda ee Panayia Virgin Mary constantly weeps
γι' αυτούς που έφυγαν yi' aftous pou efigan for those who left,
διωγμένοι με' στα πλοία diogmeni me' sta plia exiled in the boats.
Στην Πόλη, στην Αγιά Σοφιά stin Poli stin Ayia Sofia At the Poli, (4) at Ayia Sofia, (5)
ακόμα καίει μια φωτιά akoma kei mia fotia a fire still burns
γιατί Mεμέτηδες δανείζονται τα θεία yiati memetides danizonde ta thia because Muslims (6) borrowed our sacred [things].
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
Έφυγε δίχως παιδεμό efiye dihos pedemo He (7) left without trouble,
μα έζησε ξεριζωμό ma ezise xerizomo but lived through displacement.
αυτήν την λέξη aftin tin lexi This word
την πρωτάκουσα στα έξι tin protakousa sta exi I first heard at [age] 6.
είχα ρωτήσει να μου πει iha rotisi na mou pi I asked him (7) to tell [me]
την ιστορία απ' την αρχή tin istoria ap' tin arhi the history from the beginning,
κaι όπως μιλούσε ke opos milouse and as he (7) was speaking,
έσταζε αίμα η κάθε λέξη estaze ema ee kathe lexi each word was dripping blood.
     
Γι' αυτό το άνοιξα κι εγώ yi' afto to anixa ke ego And that's why I opened it,
το κασελάκι το παλιό to kaselaki to palio the old chest.
κaι είδα τα λίγα ke ida ta liga And I saw the few [things]
που 'χε πάρει, τα κρυμμένα pou 'he pari, ta krimena he had taken, the items he had smuggled out. (8)
Κανέλα, Σμύρνα και νερό kanela, smirna ke nero Cinnamon, smirna, (9) and water
απ' τα παράλια θαρρώ ap' ta paralia tharo from the seashore, I believe. (10)
και λίγο χώμα ke ligo homa And some soil (11)
από τα μέρη τα κλεμμένα apo ta meri ta klemena from the stolen land.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Στην Πόλη, στην Αγιά Σοφιά stin Poli stin Ayia Sofia At the Poli, (4) at Ayia Sofia (5)
δακρύζει πάντα η Παναγιά dakrizi panda ee Panayia Virgin Mary constantly weeps
γι' αυτούς που έφυγαν yi' aftous pou efigan for those who left,
διωγμένοι με' στα πλοία diogmeni me' sta plia exiled in the boats.
Στην Πόλη, στην Αγιά Σοφιά stin Poli stin Ayia Sofia At the Poli, (4) at Ayia Sofia, (5)
ακόμα καίει μια φωτιά akoma kei mia fotia a fire still burns
γιατί Mεμέτηδες δανείζονται τα θεία yiati memetides danizonde ta thia because Muslims (6) borrowed our sacred [things].
  1. The Greek word "Tsigana" means "Romani woman", and this word frequently appears in Greek song lyrics. I gave a great deal of thought on how to translate it here. Articles and interviews with Greek Roma have offered different opinions on how to identify their community. Many choose to self-identify as Tsigani, and are comfortable with the term. It is equivalent to the Spanish word "Gitano". Some Romani interviewees have explained that there is a difference between "Tsigano" and "Gyftos" (pronounced "Yifto", and the word that would be translated as "Gypsy"), while others have stated there is no difference. Some Greek Roma have said that "Tsigani" live in homes, whereas the "Yifti" live in tsadiria (tents). I personally do not use the term "Gyftos" because it carries too much negativity. Many Greek songs have used the word "Tsigana" when speaking about love for the Roma. Some of these were written by Roma, and others by non-Roma for Greek Romani artists. There have even been collaborations of Greek singers, with Roma collaborating with non-Roma, using the term "Tsigana". One of the most memorable was with Anna Vissi on "Mangava Tou".
  2. This is a reference to Turkey.
  3. Literally, "and I saw his stern gaze scared".
  4. "Poli" is one of the Greek names for Constantinople (Istanbul).
  5. Ayia Sofia, which means Saint Sofia, is a historic and controversial cathedral in Constantinople (Istanbul). It is an icon for the Greek Orthodox church and Byzantine Empire. When the Turks conquered Constantinople, they turned it into a mosque with Islamic minarets built all around it.  It was later turned into a museum.
  6. The term "Memetis" (plural Memetides) was used by Orthodox Greeks as well as in old traditional music to refer to the Muslim people, specifically men. Typically the term was used only to refer to Turkish Muslims, but I believe it could be used for all Muslims as its root word is in the Arabic language — Mahmoud. Many Anatolian Greeks still use this term today. Variations can include Mehmetis, Memetis, or Mahmoutis. Many Crypto Greek Orthodox Christians also were referred to by these names.
  7. Could be either "he" or "she".
  8. Literally, "the hidden".
  9. In this context, the word "smirna" does not refer to the city of Smyrna that today is known as Izmir in Turkey. The word refers to a type of incense such as myrrh, which has been used since ancient times and is mentioned in ancient Greek mythology. We burn it in church or in our homes while praying, and it smells very pleasant. For prayers in the home we use a small piece of coal, and we sprinkle some smirna on top. The act of doing this is called a "livanizo" (λιβανίζω). Many Greek Orthodox people do this for religious holidays, for a death, on Sundays, for blessing, and "just because". I grew up watching my mother and grandparents doing this. Typically, they go to each room and use move the livani tracing a cross in the air, three times. This is done in every room, and also in each corner of the room or house.
  10. This refers to the seashore at the city of Smyrna, where modern-day Izmir resides.
  11. Many Anatolian Greeks, especially the older generation wish to buried with a handful of soil from Anatolia. Also, many Greeks in the diaspora, who relocate to North America to start a new life there, never return to be laid to rest in their mother land. They always ask to be buried with soil from Greece. I'm sure this must apply to many who are uprooted or leave their mother lands.

 

 

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Translations of
Notis Sfakianakis' Songs On This Site

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About the Translator

This page was contributed by Panayiota Bakis Mohieddin, who is happy to share her culture and music she grew up with! Here's how Panayiota describes her background:

I always love engaging with intelligent like-minded people, especially artists. I love sharing anything and everything about my Hellenic culture and upbringing, especially music and dance. A conversation with me will bring you back to America's favorite Greek-American movie by Nia Vardalos called My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

I love investigating Greek culture, history, music, and dance. Speaking of investigating, I think I missed my calling, I probably should have been an investigator. Instead, I use those skills to dig and dig and dig tirelessly, often times falling asleep on my laptop... just to find the truth. But, most importantly, accurate truth. For me personally, and other respectable folklorists, my culture and accuracy are very important. Each generation of ethnic born artists has a duty to do the best it can to pass down our traditions as was taught to us. We have been given this artistic gift to be the gatekeepers of our heritage and culture.

Panayiota

 

 

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If you wish to translate articles from Shira.net into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on Shira.net along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

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